Online Bible Commentary
The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (NKJV)
The writer of 1 Corinthians is the apostle Paul. He wrote this letter to the church at Corinth, Greece during his third missionary journey. The church was established by Paul during his second missionary journey when he ministered in Corinth for a year and a half during A. D. 51-52.
Paul wrote this letter during his two year and three-month ministry in Ephesus, Asia in A. D. 54-56. It was actually his second letter to the church (1 Cor. 5:9). However, the first letter obviously was lost. The purpose of this letter is to emphasize that Jesus is our Lord and Master.
In this verse Paul writes of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells every Christian the moment he or she becomes a Christian by placing their faith in Jesus Christ and receiving Him as their Lord and Savior.
The Holy Spirit reveals the mind of God to those whom He indwells. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the mind of God.
Paul begins this verse with the words “These things we also speak” (v. 13). These “things” are the revelation of the Holy Spirit that Paul wrote of in the previous passage.
Some believe that Paul is only writing of the Biblical writers when he uses the term “we” in verse thirteen. It seems more likely, in the context of this passage, that he is referring to all Christians. He is writing of “the things God has prepared for those who love him” (v. 9), and he is writing to the Christians at the church of Corinth. All Christians love God, not just the Biblical writers.
Also, all Christians receive the revelation, inspiration, and illumination of the Holy Spirit, not just the Biblical writers. This is what allows every Christian to understand the mind of God when they study the Bible and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Biblical writers obviously received a special anointing from God for a greater purpose that He reserved for them, and them alone.
Christians are not limited to knowing “man’s wisdom” (v. 13b), the wisdom of the world, which so often has its origin in Satan and his demons. Man’s wisdom alone would make Christians no different those of the secular realm.
Christians are different when they allow the Holy Spirit to live through them. The Holy Spirit teaches them the mind of God through divine wisdom. Every Christian is able to know what “the Holy Spirit teaches” (v. 13c) because the Holy Spirit lives within them.
Paul concludes this verse by writing that the teaching of the Holy Spirit is “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (v. 13d). The literal Greek reads “with spiritual things with spiritual things comparing.” The Greek verb translated “comparing” means to “judge together”.
The second “spiritual things” in the phrase could refer to “spiritual persons”, according to the Greek. It seems likely that Paul is saying that the teaching of the Holy Spirit is judging together spiritual truths with spiritual men.
In other words, the teaching of spiritual truths makes spiritual men. This translation would fall in line with the context of the passage that the Holy Spirit makes men spiritual as He teaches them the mind of God.
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, is what makes Christians different than non-Christians. He gives us our identity. It is then up to us to allow Him to live out that Christ like identity within us.